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Waterproof compacts 8x25 or 10x25 for kids (1 Viewer)

Swissboy

Sempach, Switzerland
Supporter
Switzerland
I'm looking for a waterproof compact that does not cost the world so that I can give it to my grandchildren. I had thought to have found what I wanted in the Opticron T3 WP Trailfinder. I just got a 8x25 model. At first, it all looked good. But then, my wife complained about just barely being able to use both eyes. Obviously, the minimum interpupillary distance is not sufficient even for some adults, thus even less so for kids.

So my search continues, and I'm grateful for suggestions. I may have to concentrate on double-hinge models, maybe? Though kids may struggle a bit more with such types than with a single hinge.

Waterproof is a high priority, so no reverse-porros.

Here are some further comments on the Opticron T3. First of all, these binoculars have an absolutely phenomenal close-focus ability. Perfect for flower and insect observations. None of my alpha models beat the T3. Only the not waterproof Pentax Papilio, a reverse-porro, allows to get closer.

On the other hand, it's no surprise that contrast is much lower than in the alphas. But I was nevertheless very much surprised to realize that my oldish (more than 10 years old) Leica Trinovid 8x20 is considerably brighter that the 8x25 T3 Opticron. The exit pupils are as they should be, the ones of the 8x25 noticeably larger. But the smaller ones of the Trinovid still provide a brighter picture.

A final note: The Opticron T3 WP comes with tethered objective covers, but without a rain guard. I think that should have priority. Though one could fix the caps at the ocular end as the tube diameter is the same. But the expected irritation of the hinges being next to the eyes can hardly make this an attractive solution.
Edit: just read a review of the Minox 8x25 BV II BR that looks a bit similar. And it also comes with objective covers but without covers for the eyepieces. Either there is a system behind this, or the two come from the same factory?
 
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The binocular mentioned often for children is the Leupold Yosemite 6x30, it is a porro, waterproof,
and goes to a small IPD. My 3 yr. old grandson used one in a national park last weekend.
Consider the 6X, as it is better in many ways for the younger set, as it has an easier view.

Not sure how he saw things through it, but he was looking at prairie dogs, and it was set to
a proper distance for the view, and I believe it is a better choice than a small pocket type.

There is a Kowa version of these also, if you can find those easier in Europe.

I must admit, I like binoculars and have bought a few ahead for my younger ones coming
up to the age of using them responsibly.

Jerry
 

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The binocular mentioned often for children is the Leupold Yosemite 6x30, it is a porro, waterproof,
and goes to a small IPD. My 3 yr. old grandson used one in a national park last weekend.
Consider the 6X, as it is better in many ways for the younger set, as it has an easier view.

Not sure how he saw things through it, but he was looking at prairie dogs, and it was set to
a proper distance for the view, and I believe it is a better choice than a small pocket type.

There is a Kowa version of these also, if you can find those easier in Europe.

I must admit, I like binoculars and have bought a few ahead for my younger ones coming
up to the age of using them responsibly.

Jerry

Looks like you are functioning along the same lines, buying some stuff ahead of time. :-O

I have a Leupold Yosemite 6x30, the green ring model. It is a real hand teaser. One of my favorite models to take into my hands. But I don't particularly like the focus. It's not as smooth as it should be, due to those o-rings that are supposedly waterproofing the porro.

But most of all, the model is already larger than what I want. I can't see the kids carrying their binoculars themselves all the time on a hike if they are the size of the Yosemite. It's not just the weight (295 grams vs 452 grams), but the bulk as well.
 
Bob:

That is a choice that could work, but the view through the Nikon
reverse Porros is not real friendly for anyone, especially children.
What are the min. IPD specs.?

Size matters, and smaller is not better in many ways.
If the child cannot handle a small Yosemite, then they need
to wait a while.

Jerry

56mm is the minimum IPD on the Nikon.

Eagle Optics lists these for kids:

http://www.eagleoptics.com/binoculars/for/kids

The Vortx 8x26 Vanquish has 57mm minimum IPD

Their "Optics Energy" binoculars have two hinges and could be used by small kids. But they are cheap and not waterproof and don't meet the other criteria.

Here is a waterproof 8x25 Pentax. Real long ER and narrow FOV. Has 2 hinges.

http://www.eagleoptics.com/binoculars/pentax/pentax-dcf-sw-8x25-roof-prism-binocular

Here is a neat little single hinge Minox 8x25, waterproof, IPD unknown.

http://www.eagleoptics.com/binoculars/minox/minox-bv-ii-8x25-br-compact-binocular

Bob
 
56mm is the minimum IPD on the Nikon.

..................Here is a neat little single hinge Minox 8x25, waterproof, IPD unknown.

http://www.eagleoptics.com/binoculars/minox/minox-bv-ii-8x25-br-compact-binocular

Bob

Thank you all for your help so far. Please keep the suggestions coming!

Minox apparently has an IPD of about 58mm. But that's a reviewer who mentioned it because he can't use them with his IPD of 56mm. Minox does not give any info. As an apparent consequence, a web site (hayneedle.com) even said that the twist out rubber eyecups of this model would allow for easy adjustment of the IPD. :eek!:
Anyway nothing for kids either. The Opticron T3, by the way, has 59.5mm by my own measurement.
 
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I've got the 6x30 Yosemite for my son and it proved a good choise. He sometimes uses my 8x binoculars and still has troubles holding them still, even he is 9 now. 6x also does not need to refocussed so often. So as a conclusion, forget about 10x for kids, also 8x may be too much, 6x is great.
If you have the Yosemite already, I would start trying this.
 
I've got the 6x30 Yosemite for my son and it proved a good choise. He sometimes uses my 8x binoculars and still has troubles holding them still, even he is 9 now. 6x also does not need to refocussed so often. So as a conclusion, forget about 10x for kids, also 8x may be too much, 6x is great.
If you have the Yosemite already, I would start trying this.

As I mentioned earlier, I think the Yosemites are too heavy if the kid has to carry the binoculars all the time. I agree that 6x would be ideal for kids. But it can also be frustrating as higher power definitely yields more details. Refocussing is a minor problem for kids as their eyes do much of that for them. I recall a 7x50 model I used as a teenager where I even fixed the focus for a while as we never needed it. (Flower watching was not our bag then.)

Well, here is my short-list for the moment, all of them 8x25, double hinged and waterproof, apparently:

- Opticron Adverturer DCF: FOV 133m/1000m, CF 3m
- Nikon Sportstar EX: FOV 143m/1000m, CF 2.5m
- Nikon Trailblazer ATB: FOV 429ft/1000y, CF 8.2ft
- Pentax DCF SW: FOV 288ft (!)/1000y, CF 9.8 ft
- Olympus WP II: FOV 108m (!)/1000m, CF 1.5m
- Tasco Sierra TS825: FOV 117m/1000m, CF =?! nowhere to be found

At this point, I tend to favor the first three. But I'd be interested in comments on all of them if you have first-hand experiences. Optical and mechanical quality is of particular interest.

I'll gladly look into other models you may suggest.

I might add that most of the kids now already own a cheap type (7x18, non waterproof, of their favorite color) that was available from Eagle Optics some years ago. The picture shows only one version.
 

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Hi Robert,
just some comment on this.
I think the Yosemites are too heavy if the kid has to carry the binoculars all the time.
I guess most kids won't carry anything all the time, better not to expect that they will do that with binoculars. That said, I agree it's a good idea to look for something lighter than the Yosemites.

I'm a bit sceptical about the 8x25 though, I think that's still too shaky for most kids. And double hinged is too fiddly already for most adults. Maybe you have a compact 8x20 already, that you could try out with the kids?
 
Hi Robert,
just some comment on this.

I guess most kids won't carry anything all the time, better not to expect that they will do that with binoculars. That said, I agree it's a good idea to look for something lighter than the Yosemites.

I'm a bit sceptical about the 8x25 though, I think that's still too shaky for most kids. And double hinged is too fiddly already for most adults. Maybe you have a compact 8x20 already, that you could try out with the kids?

My only 8x20 is a Leica Trinovid that I don't want to give the kids for any length of unattended time. And it is double hinged as well. The reason for double hinges as a criterion is simply the greater flexibility with the IPD.

Presently the grandchildren range from 11 to 4, but the idea is to give them the new binoculars only when they are at least 8 or so. For starters, I'd like to have about two such binoculars for them to try out. I'll certainly give them the Opticron T3 Trailfinder to try, the one I already have. As stated at the beginning, it would be just great if the IPD is no issue. I don't want them to get accustomed to use binoculars as monoculars.

Regarding my shortlist in post #9, the Opticron model's name should read Adventurer.
 
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I think that most 8 year olds will struggle to keep the barrels properly separated and the diopter properly set and the exit pupils centered and the image focused on most 8x roof prism binoculars. Those little not well coordinated and not so strong hands are just not up to the task. One of the Bushnell xtra wide binoculars would give the kids an optical device that would make the bird 5x bigger, have a very wide field and be reasonably easy to hand hold. A 4x30 fixed focus bin would be a usable device for most kids. Once their strength and coordination improves then a higher magnification more complicated binocular could be useful if they still show interest in observing through binoculars.
 
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When my daughter was ~4 yrs old and had IPD <50mm, she tried several inexpensive bins and liked an older model of Nikon 8x25 Sportstar (maybe the IV ?), which is a double-hinged pocket roof, best. The good points for her were the narrow IPD, very smooth and easy to reach focus, very short close focus, fairly wide FOV, and small size. Eye-relief was poor for me (eye glasses wearer) but fine for her. I think the model currently labeled Trailblazer is similar to what she used and that the latest Sportstar has better eye-relief but a much narrower FOV. I judged the optics to be mediocre but not abysmal (resolution OK, contrast poor).

When she was ~8 yrs old and had IPD >50mm, she switched to using the Leupold 6x30 Yosemite (in salmon color). She preferred the Yosemite for its better optics and was willing to deal with the larger size in order to get that benefit, but she missed the smooth and easy to reach focus, and the close-focus, of the Sportstar. She is still using the Yosemite, now at age 10.

--AP
 
....... One of the Bushnell xtra wide binoculars would give the kids an optical device that would make the bird 5x bigger, have a very wide field and be reasonably easy to hand hold. .............

Interesting, I did not even know such things existed. I agree 5x would be just fine for starters. But looking at the pictures, these xtra wide models don't seem to be very child-friendly in size.

More importantly, I think they could only be found on the auction sites? I do find the fix-focos 4x30 being offered, but I'm not convinced that's what I want. Too heavy and bulky for my liking. Waiting a bit longer and then go for the Yosemite would look more sensible in this case.
 
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My 9 year old grand daughter loves the 6X Yosemite. I know that's not what you want to hear but it is what it is

Quite the contrary! I find it interesting and I may well become convinced to go that route. As I had mentioned, except for the suction feeling when focusing, I like it personally to the point that I don't want to give away my own one.
But again, if they have to carry their own stuff on a hike, I doubt that the Yosemite would come along. Unless they are already "hooked", of course. And that would clearly be the goal. I just don't want them to be turned off. But "sherpa" duties are not what I plan either. ;)
 
She carries her own stuff. She is old enough that it is expected. With the grandson all you have to say is I think it's too heavy. After he hears that he would carry a concrete block just to show you he can.
 
I wonder if anybody has tried these little Nikon Aculon T01 8x21 binoculars?

Can't tell if they are water proof but they look like they might have a narrow IPD and small kids should be able to use them. For 70 bucks ordered from Nikon you can't beat the price.

http://www.nikonsportoptics.com/en/Nikon-Products/Binoculars/ACULON-T01-8x21-Blue.html

When you click on the link, sometimes a rifle scope will come up first for some reason and then the binocular appears

Here is that 8x25 Trailblazer ATB. Real big FOV and it is water proof. One review say it's a good binocular for kids. Only $90.00 ordered from Nikon. I had the older model and it wasn't too bad. In fact, I sold it to a friend of mine at my Legion Post who takes it when he goes hunting. He likes it a lot. He says it was a lot better than the the small 8x25 Bushnell he broke after using it 15 years. These guys are not really optics aficianados so if they like it I'm sure a kid would like it.

http://www.nikonsportoptics.com/en/Nikon-Products/Binoculars/Trailblazer-8x25-ATB.html

Bob
 
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